Stewart Confirms Chili Bowl Entry
INDIANAPOLIS – Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) will field a midget for three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and two-time Chili Bowl winner Tony Stewart in the 27th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals next month.
Stewart finished 10th in last year’s finale after not participating in the event for three consecutive seasons (2009-2011). This year, he returns to action in the TSR No. 14 Chevrolet Performance/Spike/Chevrolet in the most prestigious Midget race of the year.
“Going back to the Chili Bowl for the first time several years in January of 2012 reminded me of just how tough of an event it really is,” Stewart said. “You typically have more than 200 competitors from all over the world battling it out on a quarter-mile dirt track – indoors. The excitement and atmosphere that is contained in the Expo Center is really something you can’t explain and it was great to be part of it again. I’m really looking forward to taking another shot at winning the Golden Driller for our partners, Chevrolet Performance and Curb Records, and I’d like nothing more than to win a third title for them and TSR.”
The annual Chili Bowl, which takes place inside the typically fan-packed confines of the QuikTrip Center’s Tulsa Expo Raceway, will see Stewart and more than 200 drivers attempt to qualify for one of the coveted spots in Saturday’s 50-lap A-Main finale. Each driver will participate in a qualifying program and accumulate points.
Stewart is one of only five drivers to win the Chili Bowl more than once, one of 17 different drivers to win it since the inaugural event in 1987. He has a pair of Golden Drillers in his collection after scoring Chili Bowl victories in 2002 and 2007. Stewart earned Chevrolet its initial Chili Bowl triumph in 2007 and hopes to deliver a second in January.
The three-time NASCAR titleist prepped for the upcoming Chili Bowl Saturday by leading all 40 laps of the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series-sanctioned third annual Battle at the Center on the one-sixth mile Mini Magic Mile at the Southern Illinois Center in DuQuoin, Ill. He drove the special-edition black, carbon-fiber entry that has been dubbed the “Back in Black” machine that he’ll compete with in Tulsa.
“We had a lot of fun racing in DuQuoin last week, but it was more than just having some fun. We used that event as an opportunity to shake the car down for the Chili Bowl in January,” Stewart said. “Last year, I didn’t have a chance to get some laps in the car before I ran my qualifying night in Tulsa. We were starting from scratch and spent some time getting the car where we wanted it. Having run the DuQuoin event before we get to the Chili Bowl this year is going to help us a lot. We’ve got a good baseline of where we’d like to start out for the week and I am completely confident the guys will give me a great car to drive.
“Running the Munchkin in the Rumble in Fort Wayne is also a lot of fun for us. We won both nights last year and it’s never easy to win on such a tight, little track. The Rumble and the Chili Bowl are like night and day, as one is pavement and one is a dirt race. But that’s what makes open-wheel racing so much fun. Competing on both surfaces, especially indoors, gives you the best of both worlds. I’m looking forward to both the Rumble in Fort Wayne and the Chili Bowl.”